DURBAN – Kwazulu-Natal Premier Soccer League (PSL) club AmaZulu will change hands after owner and chairman of the club, Dr Patrick Sokhela, reached an agreement with the Zungu Investments Company (Zirco) to transfer 100% ownership of the outfit.
Zirco is owned by Durban-born businessman Sandile Zungu.
AmaZulu have struggled to shrug off the label of being the “yoyo team” of South African football for almost two decades. They are serial relegation candidates and the owners have sometimes relied on their deep pockets to buy the status of playing in the Premiership from clubs that are struggling financially.
It seems Sokhela has now exhausted his energy trying to make Usuthu live up to their status as a team that prides itself as a representative of the great Zulu nation.
“I have been the owner and chairman of AmaZulu for the past 16 years, and the time has come for me to pass the banner to a new owner. I believe the new owner will continue to grow the club in both status and stature as I have endeavoured to do,” noted Sokhela in a statement.
“I cannot think of anyone better than Sandile Zungu to step into my shoes and continue the legacy of this club,” he added.
In a virtual press conference, Zungu told journalists that his desire was to transform AmaZulu into a championship winning side. His ambition is for the club to be in a position to fight for the Premiership title in fours years.
“I want a winning team. We must not score and concede sloppy goals. A young girl in Lamontville must want to go to the game when AmaZulu are playing because of the entertainment,” said Zungu who hails from uMlazi.
He said the club planned to work according to a 12-year-plan and re-establish itself as a giant of South African football before its 100 year celebration in 2032.
AmaZulu struggled for the majority of the past season in the top flight before a late season resurgence under the coaching of former striker Ayanda Dlamini allowed the club to avoid relegation.
Despite being the oldest top flight club in South African football, Usuthu have not won a major trophy since 1992 when it claimed the Coca-Cola Cup (now referred to as the Nedbank Cup).
A realistic expectation for Usuthu next season can be to finish in the top eight of the PSL. The club ended 13th last season and has not finished in the top eight since the 2011/12 season.
It is not clear at this stage what specific changes Zungu will introduce in the administration of the club to realise his ambitions.
Independent On Saturday